Will the shift in power to the interconnectedness of the net mean positive change?
Not so long ago, boards such as these offered the choice of both negative and positive ratings for comments, but the negative option has often been discarded because it is found to encourage negative discourse. I've noticed since that change here at TED that there seems to be a growing prevalence of positive ratings for negative comments. What might such a trend tell us about what the future holds as power shifts horizontally to the net?
Another example might be Ron Paul basing his U.S. Presidential run on an internet campaign centered on negativity. And another might be the Occupy Movement, which grew out of this interconnectedness but has failed to accomplish much in the way of positive results, and that perhaps because it arose out of an iconoclastic narrative. In all these cases, I think there's an imbalance of expression in favor of that which tends to revel in rhetoric for the purpose of elevating dissent. Not that there's anything wrong with expressing dissent, but what happens when dissent becomes its own reason? How is that different than mob rule?
Will the shift in power to the interconnectedness of the net mean positive change? The perseverance of negative rhetoric online, especially its growing power in global politics and its persistence in even the most positive forums, such as TED, makes me wonder if we will see crowd accelerated innovation prevail over mob accelerated devolution. In hard economic times, history warns us to watch out for despotism, and the majority can empower despots, or be as good a despot as any itself, when led by mob reason.